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Meeting cancelled due to austerity. Meeting cancelled due to austerity.

Federal austerity dishes out a 30% wallop to conventions industry

But expectations are high for 'strong growth' in 2020-21

Cancellations of government meetings and conferences have caused a 30% decline in the number of events coordinated by the Mexican Council of Industrial Meetings (COMIR) in the first eight months of the year.

COMIR President Jaime Salazar said the government’s “republican austerity” policy has directly affected the conventions industry, which contributes 1.8% of the country’s gross domestic product and is worth US $35 billion annually.

What’s more, commercial expositions in the automotive, infrastructure and pharmaceutical sectors have seen reductions of up to 25% as of August, due to the decline in domestic consumption.

“There are sectors like construction — which hosts 27 conventions a year in the country — that have had to cut their events budgets by 25%,” said Salazar.

Despite Tourism Secretary Miguel Torruco having emphasized “industry without chimneys,” meaning tourism, there have been no concrete actions to shore up the industry and avoid a bigger drop during the remainder of the year.

“This type of fall — and so we don’t get into polemics, this is very clear — this disaster is a consequence of the cancellation of all the activities and meetings of the federal government beginning this year, this directly hits the conventions industry,” said Salazar.

Mexico City is one of the most important centers for the conventions industry in Latin America, but it is projected to lose its status among the major events hosting cities in the region.

According to predictions by conventions company CWT Meetings and Events, the Mexican capital will be surpassed by Sao Paulo, Bogotá, Lima, and Rio de Janeiro as the main metropolises for organizing conventions.

Still, Salazar remains bullish about the future.

“Although the 2018 presidential elections in the two largest economies of Latin America — Brazil and Mexico — created a cautionary climate, the expectations for 2020-21 are much different: we’re expecting strong growth,” he said.

Source: El Financiero (sp)

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